By Laura Van Eperen and Jeffrey Davis

As we close out another strong year at Van Eperen, it’s time to look at what we’re in for as marketers in 2019. In this post we explore PR’s rising relevance, pitfalls of avoiding spokesperson coaching, why smaller is better in influencer marketing and a few social media observations.

  • Emergence of Nano Influencers
    A few years ago marketers rushed into influencer programs, thinking the bigger the numbers the better the program. But many discovered a big missing piece when the so-called influencers simply posted an over-produced product photo, collected their check and moved on. There’s rarely any engagement with these mega-followed influencer types whose posts look like they’re straight out of a catalog. These programs work but expect smart marketers to set their sights a bit lower in 2019, working with credible people who have 10,000 to 20,000 or even 3,000 to 5,000 followers depending on the industry. Nano-influencers are real and will actually talk to followers about why they like a product or service.
  • A Mixed Bag with Social Media
    While Facebook’s massive user base makes it difficult for marketers to ignore the platform, the giant will continue to stumble along with its lack of trust and other issues. Marketers will still need to pay for posts to get any results. On the horizon are the huge numbers of young people who never got into Facebook and are currently quite happy with Instagram and Snapchat, so Facebook will continue to find ways to claim relevance, and one way is through groups. LinkedIn recently announced stories are on the way, so watch for businesses to play with that feature as it rolls out in 2019. Twitter will address editing and algorithm issues and hang in there as a Top 3 platform for business communications. It will remain important for communicators to master Twitter with fresh, non-boring content since it’s the media’s preferred social platform. Video – especially live video – will take another leap in importance.
  • CEOs in the Spotlight
    Although some companies have let these slip in recent years, training workshops that teach executives how to present themselves will become more important in 2019. Look for high profile missteps from those who don’t take this seriously as people expect to hear directly from a company’s leader, whether it’s a media interview, a public meeting or on social media. Smart execs will practice so they have a handle on their messages and the best way to deliver them.
  • Importance of Publicity Rises
    One of PR’s leading tactics – media relations – will become even more important as companies that recognize the strength of publicity will find it more difficult to locate that expertise. This is especially true with those using the PESO communications model (Paid, Earned, Shared, Owned). It’s relatively easy to find talent capable of creating ads and websites. Those who understand – and excel at – media relations are not as easy to find, especially those who understand what the media wants and doesn’t want. Watch for companies that specialize in PR to promote that capability more openly.

Laura Van Eperen is CEO of Maryland PR firm Van Eperen, a Capitol Communicator sponsor. Jeffrey Davis is managing partner and also serves as Capitol Communicator’s Baltimore editor.

Capitol Communicator is running a series of posts about predictions regarding what’s ahead in 2019. If you have thoughts on what’s ahead in 2019, email Phil Rabin, editor of Capitol Communicator, at phil.rabin@capitolcommunicator.com.

You can check out other predictions in Insights.

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